The third music festival of the COVID-19 era is upon us, and the message from Bethlehem’s health officials hasn’t changed much on how to keep it from spoiling the fun:
Stay home if you’re sick and follow basic hygiene practices like hand washing or frequent hand sanitizer, said Kristen Wenrich, the city’s health director.
“It really is in line with what we communicated during the pandemic,” Wenrich told lehighvalleylive.com.
masks? Consider wearing one if you are immunocompromised, caring for someone who is in or coming out of quarantine with a recent infection, she said, adding that it’s a decision that depends on the circumstances , especially given that most of the music festival is taking place outdoors where the threat of COVID-19 is reduced.
monkey pox? Despite being declared a national public health emergency on Thursday, a concert setting is not considered a risky situation as fans ideally are fully clothed and avoid skin-to-skin contact, which can spread the viral disease through scabs or bodily fluids , according to Wenrich.
The Bethlehem Health Bureau will set up a tent along Main Street in the area of the bridge and West Church Street where volunteers will be handing out free COVID-19 tests for festival-goers to take home.
Of course, infectious diseases aren’t the only thing that can ruin a trip to the 10-day (plus preview night on Thursday) music, food and drink festival — now in its 39th year and hosted by the city-based nonprofit ArtsQuest.
For emergencies, Bethlehem paramedics will be stationed at the Musikfest site on both the south side and north of the Lehigh River, said Thomas Decker, director of the city’s emergency services. In the event of serious incidents, he advises contacting a volunteer at the music festival or a police officer on duty at the event, or dialing the emergency number 911.
Decker encourages those in need of first aid to visit one of the four LVHN Healthplatz tents sponsored and staffed by Lehigh Valley Health Network at the Wells Fargo Fairground, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America’s Zinzenplatz and the Wind Creek Steel Stage at PNC Plaza .
(Visit musikfest.org for a map of all the sites so named in reference to Bethlehem’s Germanic-Moravian roots.)
“In addition to treating minor injuries – cuts, bruises, nosebleeds, burns, sprains, etc. – changing tables are available at all Healthplatz locations (except Wind Creek Steel Stage),” the health network said.
ArtsQuest has a list of tips from LVHN for a healthy visit to the event on its Musikfest website.
Chief among them, Wenrich said, are staying hydrated and putting on sunscreen, knowing the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, and being sure to take breaks in the shade of marquees or waiting until evening for the festival.
For those looking to take a more active role in their health at this music festival, St. Luke’s University Health Network is partnering with ArtsQuest to add a Music Festival Walking Challenge to its Get Your Tail on the Trail initiative that people of all ages and everyone can enjoy Ability to log encourages 165 miles of activity by November 7, 2022.
“Get Your Tail on the Trail” activities include walking, running, biking, rollerblading, hiking, treadmill, paddling, adventures, and others—any activity that’s performed for more than 10 minutes at a time every day. The challenge is 165 miles as that is the approximate length of the D&L Trail which runs through Bristol, Bucks County, through the Lehigh Valley and north into Luzerne County. The program does not require participants to train exclusively on the D&L.
Music Fest Challenge participants are asked to log their place-to-place mileage on the Get Your Tail on the Trail app or website. Competitors who complete a minimum of 10 miles during the August 4-14 festival will win two front-row tickets to next year’s music festival headlining lineup.
Participation in the 165-mile challenge and the music festival part are free of charge. Prizes will be sent to those who complete the 165 mile challenge once it’s over. Previous prizes have included ponchos, backpacks, phone holders and more. To download the app and register to log activity, visit tailonthetrail.org.
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Kurt Bresswein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.